Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Immoralities of Jennifer Smith

True crime- The operator of an adult living facility has a resident committed to a psychiatric hospital so she can steal her assets.

By Joe Roubicek, author of FINANCIAL ABUSE OF THE ELDERLY; A Detective's Case Files Of Exploitation Crimes

Our villain, Jennifer Smith, lost her precious freedom by way of an arrest for her exploitation of Christine Cobb, but at least she had a choice in the matter. Like any other person accused of a crime, Smith was also presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
She had constitutional rights.
Christine, on the other hand, was presumed to be mentally ill and had to prove otherwise to win back her freedom – simply because Smith said that she was crazy. Smith had more rights as a criminal than Christine Cobb had as an upstanding and decent senior citizen who was simply accused of “being crazy.”
This was an immoral social injustice.

Free Download: The Immoralities of Jennifer Smith

See also:
Guardian Abuse: Keeping It In The Family

Advocate for the Elderly

Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Judge Seeking Volunteers

El Paso County Statutory Probate Court No. 1 Judge Yvonne Rodriguez is looking for 100 aides to check in on wards of court. In order for her court, which appoints guardians, among its other duties, to fulfill a mandate from the Texas Probate Court, the judge needs volunteers willing to check in on some of the 3,000 wards handled by her court.

Each volunteer will have to fill out a report on the status of each ward he or she visits. The reports go into a more extensive, annual document issued by a Court Visitor, who can recommend changes that may be needed.

The state mandate does not come with any funds to pay for it.

Judge Rodriguez said of what are called well-being reports, "We have to do them once a year, but there's no money to recruit volunteers to check on your wards."

The ideal volunteer is someone who is retired, older, able to have transportation and can do the job of visiting and assessing each ward's situation. Most of the wards are elderly and must be mentally incapacitated to qualify for a court-appointed guardianship.

The judge noted: Many probably receive proper care. But some are exploited financially or abused, and those are the ones the judge and the state are trying to catch before it's too late.

Full Article and Source:
Judge seeking 100 aides to check in on wards of court

Friday, June 20, 2008

Judging the Judges

Eighty-seven judges will be evaluated in the District Court, Juvenile Court, Superior Court, Housing Court, and Probate and Family Court.

As part of the ongoing program to evaluate and enhance judicial performance, the Supreme Judicial Court's Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee has sent questionnaires to attorneys and court employees in Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket Counties.

Among the categories covered in the evaluations are: a judge's knowledge of the law; temperament on the bench; courtroom control; treatment of litigants, witnesses, jurors, and attorneys; fairness and impartiality; and timeliness in issuing written decisions.

All questionnaires, both paper and electronic, are anonymous; the resulting reports are also confidential and are given only to the judge being evaluated and to the appropriate Chief Justices.

Please direct any inquiries concerning questionnaires and evaluations to Mona Hochberg, Supreme Judicial Court Judicial Performance Evaluation Coordinator, at (617) 557-1156, or via email at For other information, please contact Joan Kenney, Public Information Officer, Supreme Judicial Court, at (617) 557-1113, or via email at

Full Article and Source:
Judge a Judge

The Private Conservator

In 2001 a San Mateo County judge ruled my Mom could no longer take care of herself and forced her into a conservatorship to "manage" her multimillion dollar estate and make essential decisions about her care.

The private conservator sold Mom’s home, where she had lived for 45 years, for six million dollars (more money for them!) – and forced her into a nursing home even though she wanted to live with me and I wanted to take care of her.

The conservatorship was solely in the best financial interest of the attorneys and conservator who feasted off of Mom’s estate as they poisoned the court against me for my efforts to protect her from her predators.

Because I complained about their abuse of my Mom and questioned the level of care she was receiving at the nursing home where she was imprisoned, I was not permitted to see Mom unless I hired a social worker to "observe" my visit. I was denied all input regarding Mom’s care and medical decisions about her. They had stolen her away from her family and the life she had lived and was accustomed to because they wanted her money. All contact with her friends was also screened, leaving her feeling abandoned and alone and also angry she could not go home. What she wanted and needed was ignored. She did not feel safe in the nursing home and I constantly feared for her safety. Her final days were nothing less than miserable and frightening for her, and for me.

The attorneys and conservator rationalized their exorbitant fees (hundreds of thousands of dollars) proclaiming to be representing my Mom’s best interest against me – and the court rubber stamped their every request. They had done an excellent job of setting the stage for Mom’s financial clean out by maligning me and blaming me for their continued litigation.

No one is safe! ~ Wendy Ferrari

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Granny Snatchers

Charges of unfair imprisonment. Allegations of a nursing home abduction. A heated debate between a local family and state officials highlights the complexity of addressing alleged elder abuse.

Mary Stenlund, Linda's 88-year-old mother who had been living with her for the past 26 years, fell ill and was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. A week later, the Department of Human Services (DHS) obtained a court order to enter Linda's house, alleging the home was laden with such unsanitary conditions that Linda was guilty of dependent adult abuse, and moved Stenlund from Mercy Medical Center to a 24-hour nursing home facility against her family's will. Then, after months of concern regarding her mother's care and consistent pleas from Stenlund to take her home, Linda allegedly abducted the frail senior from the Fleur Heights nursing home, sparking a frantic police search that ended with the two women found eating ice cream at a local Dairy Queen.

Court documents were filed noting that the investigation of Linda Wilson for denial of critical care would be "founded" and, because "the dependent adult abuse presents an immediate danger to the health and safety" of Stenlund, the DHS recommended her placement at Fleur Heights nursing home. Based on the state of the home, recommendations from medical staff at Mercy that she required 24-hour care, and the DHS social worker's assertion that Stenlund "appeared to be confused and unable to make decisions," Judge Klotz signed a second emergency order authorizing Stenlund's transfer to Fleur Heights.

But the Wilson family says they were outraged by that determination, with John charging that DHS used "deception" to get the order. The Wilsons say Stenlund has been "stripped of all her rights" and, due to the injunctions barring her two closest relatives from seeing her, has been left without the comfort of family members in her waning days.

"I do feel they're killing her"

Full Article and Source:
Granny Snatchers

More information:
Save Grandma

See also:
Granny Snatching

Granny Snatching - Another Side

Mayor Meek's Last Will

Part One: Allegations of Probate Fraud

Video claims isolation and possible elder abuse. Former Mayor of Rialto prominent in politics signed a 2nd amendment and Last Will during his last days. Witnessed by Ralph Shumway at Waipuna and prepared by Robert Grigger Jones of Atascadero 2000 miles away.

Part Two: Mayor of City Rialto Last Will

Details property sales and impunity with regards to Mayor Meek's estate.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Postponing Protection for Seniors

Laws to protect seniors and dependent adults from abuse by court-appointed conservators are under threat as California lawmakers seek painful cuts to close the state's $15.2-billion budget deficit.

The laws were part of a sweeping reform package signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger two years ago after a Los Angeles Times series had exposed theft, abuse and negligence by some professional conservators appointed to look after seniors.

State senators in a key legislative committee recently recommended suspending some of the reforms for a year, thereby saving $17.4 million. The money was intended to help probate courts improve supervision of conservators.

If Assembly members back the move, it will delay funding for the reforms for the second consecutive year. Last year, the governor vetoed the necessary funding, citing fiscal problems.

Assemblyman Dave Jones:

"Feared that further delays would leave more seniors and dependent adults vulnerable to abuse."

"I think that's a huge mistake and a huge step backward."

"A year is a very long time to allow conservators to potentially take advantage of the people they're supposed to be watching."

Full Article and Source:
California budget cuts could delay conservator reforms

See also:

Court Work Overload

Guardianship Legislation

Money Missing From Estates

A recently concluded investigation revealed that at least 11 of Karyn McConnell Hancock’s former Lucas County Probate Court clients have discrepancies in their accounts totaling more than $170,000 in missing money and possible thefts.

An attorney who was appointed as a special master commissioner to review the cases, filed his report in probate court. Each of the cases investigated involved estates set up on behalf of deceased residents.

* McConnell Hancock is accused of taking money from estates of both a husband and wife who died within three years of each other

* McConnell Hancock’s legal escrow account revealed that checks were deposited and paid from the account inappropriately

* McConnell Hancock sent a letter to the Ohio Supreme Court to resign as an attorney after she was found guilty to a misdemeanor charge of making false alarms

* McConnell Hancock’s attorney filed a consent agreement in probate court saying she admitted guilt to the embezzlement of more than $130,000 form the estate of a murdered Toledo city worker

* Many allegations of theft by clients and former clients, including three people who have filed lawsuits in Lucas County Common Pleas Court

The Lucas County prosecutor’s office is investigating the allegations.
Investigation shows 11 clients of McConnell Hancock had money missing from estates

See also:

Steven Coley said he was "nave" about his responsibilities as financial guardian of his three young cousins, so he enlisted the help of attorney Karyn McConnell Hancock: Teens' guardian denies receiving money from Toledo attorney

A former client of attorney Karyn McConnell Hancock filed a report with Toledo police yesterday accusing her of forging his name on multiple checks and cashing them without his knowledge: Ex-client accuses McConnell Hancock of forgery

On the day Karyn McConnell Hancock was to appear in Lucas County Probate Court to be questioned on what happened to more than $128,000 in missing money, her attorney said a resolution has been reached in the matter: Hancock settles 1 accusation of missing funds

A retired judge from Hardin County has been appointed to preside over the case involving Karyn McConnell Hancock, who admitted to faking her own kidnapping: Judge is chosen for McConnell Hancock

Four days after a Toledo lawyer admitted she fabricated a story about being kidnapped by three people from downtown, Toledo police charged her with a misdemeanor for making false alarms: McConnell Hancock to be arraigned, charged with misdemeanor

Police say she faked her own kidnapping. Karyn McConnell-Hancock was supposed to take the stand today about life insurance checks she's accused of stealing from a former client: McConnell-Hancock a no-show in court

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fight Guardianship Abuse

They took him away from the only people on earth who loved him.
And, they destroyed him.


Satellite Parking

On her 75th birthday, Millie McAllister is standing on a tree stump in her back yard, waiting for the spaceship from Venus to come take her back home. Meanwhile, her daughter Fran is trying to get Millie back in the house, as it is cold outside. The play is told from Millie's point of view, as she explains to the audience how she came to learn she was from Venus and then tried to accomplish her mission to return home, despite obstacles erected by stupid earthlings who wanted her committed to the hospital. There is a surprise ending.

A staged reading of “Satellite Parking” was presented by the Administrative Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association at the annual meeting.

Judge Paul Handy of the Office of Administrative Hearings in Washington, D.C., the play’s writer and director said: "Lawyers tend to look at it in an analytical way", “Nobody is really at fault for the situation", "I want people to see the humanity of it.”

The play’s emotional center, however, is the inner struggle of Millie’s daughter, as she tries do what she thinks is best for her mother despite her mother’s resistance.

Handy wrote the play in 1996 based on his experiences in the mental health division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, where he was working at the time.

A panel discussion about commitment hearings and the circumstances surrounding them followed the play.

Full Article and Source:
Lawyers present play, panel discussion on commitment hearings

Monday, June 16, 2008

Golden Opportunities

Golden Opportunities is a series of articles from The New York Times examining how businesses and investors seek to profit from the soaring number of older Americans, in ways helpful and harmful.
Reporting by Charles Duhigg.

Reverse mortgages have boomed, but many consumers complain of unethical and high-pressure sales tactics.
Tapping Into Homes Can Be Pitfall for the Elderly

Elderly plaintiffs have sued companies for financial abuse even though they admit they made unwise decisions.
Shielding Money Clashes With Elders’ Free Will

Medicare spends billions of dollars each year on products and services that are available at far lower prices.
Oxygen Suppliers Fight to Keep a Medicare Boon

The top-ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee has asked 11 long-term care insurance companies to explain “troubling data” regarding how policyholders’ claims are handled and paid.
Scrutiny for Insurers of the Aged

Insulated from lawsuits by their corporate structures, private investors in nursing homes have cut expenses and staff, sometimes below minimum requirements.
At Many Homes, More Profit and Less Nursing

Financial advisers with little training give counsel they are unqualified to offer, advocates for the elderly say.
For Elderly Investors, Instant Experts Abound

Large companies are selling vast databases of personal information to thieves, despite evidence their services are used for fraud.
Bilking the Elderly, With a Corporate Assist

Many long-term-care policyholders say that years of premiums have resulted in only excuses about why insurers will not pay.
Aged, Frail and Denied Care by Their Insurers

Trading in life insurance policies held by wealthy seniors has quietly become a big business for investors.
Late in Life, Finding a Bonanza in Life Insurance

The thieves worked from small, second-floor offices. They called thousands of elderly Americans and posed as government or insurance workers who needed a few bits of information. Then, they emptied their bank accounts.
Telemarketing Scams

Audio and Photos:
Thousands of elderly Americans with long-term-care insurance policies have had their claims denied.
A String of Denied Claims

Sunday, June 15, 2008

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Show the world you care about ending elder abuse and neglect.

"Wear something purple" on World Awareness Day - every June 15th.

International Network
For The Prevention of Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse comes in obvious forms and not so obvious forms.

We are facing a national epidemic of unlawful and abusive guardianships and conservatorships --- guardians and their attorneys are getting rich off the backs of their vulnerable wards, exploiting the very people they have been court-appointed to protect. The wards are stripped of all rights, including the right to complain about the abuse. Lives are destroyed, bank accounts depleted, families torn apart.

And, it's all "legal".

Elder abuse should also include guardianship abuse.
Written by a NASGA member.